Roberto Clemente “The Great One”

Posted: 2013/02/03 in Stories

Roberto Clemente was born in Carolina, Puerto Rico on August 18, 1934.  He had to work from a young age to earn money for his baseball equipment because his family was poor.  Roberto worked hard after school carrying groceries.  It was soon noted that he had a special talent to play baseball.  During his first year of attending VizcarondoHigh School in Carolina he was recruited to play on a local team sponsored by the Sello Rojo Company.

Clemente’s professional career started with a team called the Santurce Crabbers.  He earned $40 a week.  When he was 18 years of age he accepted an offer of $10,000 from the Brooklyn Dodgers.  He then moved to Montreal to play with the Montreal Royals for the 1954 season.  At the end of the season the Pittsburgh Pirates drafted him.  He finished his rookie season with an average of .255.  He played for the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1955 until 1972.  On September 30, 1972 he batted his hit #3,000.

On Saturday December 23, 1972 the capital city of Nicaragua was hit by a massive earthquake.  Roberto Clemente immediately set to work arranging emergency relief.  He decided to travel in the fourth relief flight from Puerto Rico to Nicaragua.  The plane he chartered was a Douglas DC-7 and was overloaded with emergency relief supplies.  It crashed into the ocean off the northern coast of Puerto Rico immediately after takeoff on December 31, 1972.  Only days after his death, he was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame, the first Latin player in the Hall.  Every year Major League Baseball honors him with the Roberto Clemente Award which is given to a player who best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual’s contribution to his team.  Hospitals and schools in the United States are named after him.




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